Singapore Airlines began as "Malayan Airways" in 1947, flying an Airspeed Consul twin engined airplane between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang (two cities and an island of what is now called West Malaysia).
The remainder of the 1940s was a growth period for Malayan Airlines, as was the 1950s. World War II had just finished and people around the world wanted to travel, a privilege that they had sometimes been denied because of the situation worldwide during previous years, and residents of Singapore and Malaysia were no exception. By 1955, Malayan Airlines' fleet had grown to include a large number of Douglas DC-3s.
In 1963, the creation of the Federation of Malaysia brought a change of name, to "Malaysian Airways". In 1966, the name was changed again, this time to "Malaysia-Singapore Airlines" (MSA), following Singapore's departure from the Federation of Malaysia the previous year.
MSA ceased operations in 1972, when political disagreements between Singapore and Malaysia resulted in the formation of two new airlines: Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Singapore's airline company had 10 aircraft at that time. However, Singapore Airlines' hostesses continued to wear the sarong kebaya dress, which had previously been used by MSA. While airlines in Western countries shied away from recruiting young women, Singapore Airlines promoted the image of the 'Singapore Girl' in its advertising.
During the 1980s, the United States, Canada, and many European cities joined Singapore Airlines' route map. During this time, Madrid became the first and only hispanic city to be served by Singapore Airlines.
During the 1990s, Singapore Airlines licensed model aeroplane companies like Schabak, Wooster plastic aeroplanes, Herpa Wings and many others, to manufacture promotional plane models for them. Their Boeing 747's became known as the Megatops, and they ordered Boeing 767 and Airbus equipment to compliment the Megatops.
On 31 October, 2000, Singapore Airlines Flight 6, flying on a Changi International Airport, Singapore-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport,Taipei, Taiwan-Los Angeles International Airport,Los Angeles, California route, crashed during takeoff from Taipei for its second leg, killing 79 passengers and 3 crew members.
Singapore Airlines has an enviable reputation in the air transport industry. It is generally regarded as Asia's leading airline and has won "World's best Airline" and "Airline of The Year" awards several times. It previously owned 25% of Air New Zealand (diluted to 4.5% after the New Zealand Government bought into the airline to rescue it from bankruptcy) and is a prominent member of the worldwide Star Alliance.
Singapore Airlines operates the youngest fleet in Asia, including the Boeing 747-400, and 777, Airbus A-310 and A-340, and is a launch customer for the largest passenger aircraft yet proposed, the Airbus A380.